Last year we started our Fresh Start program for new moms in poverty in Buengkan Province. We were going to Buengkan Hospial once a month and giving new moms and families care packages. Unfortunately we had to suspend this particular program earlier this year when covid 19 began to spread within Thailand. In order to protect the vulnerable populations we work with, we chose to be cautious about our interactions and, after talking with a local nurse, decided to stay out of the ward. We are pleased to announce, however, that after consultations we have agreed it is once again safe to resume our hospital visits!
When we first started this particular program to help families in poverty, we were only able to give each new mom a few infant onesies and outfit sets. Now, thanks to the continuous donations of baby clothes from the Price family and friends in Ireland, donations of washable diapers/swaddling cloth from Ratthawut, and the monetary donations from global donors we have been able to expand our care packages. Now we can give new families more onesies and clothing sets (0-12 months), washable diaper, a knitted hat, toothpaste and toothbrush for mom while she is in the hospital (and enough to take home!) and personal hygiene items for both mom and baby. No mother should have to bring a child into this world worrying about meeting basic needs. While it may not seem like there is much in our care packages, it can really make an impact on a new family in poverty. Consider the cost of baby clothes and diapers. We provide new moms with a fresh set of onesies and outfits for their baby through multiple stages of growth and a diaper that they can wash and use again and again.
“No mother should have to bring a child into this world worrying about meeting basic needs.”
What doesn’t seem like much to someone with financial stability and good support system means the world to someone living in poverty. The women who are giving birth now could in no way have forseen the global pandemic that we are currently in the midst of. Finances would have already been a burden for many, but now with the hard hit economy leading to loss of jobs and unstability there is even more fear and uncertainty around how these families are going to be able to raise their children.
In the past one or sometimes both parents would go to work down in tourist packed south Thailand to make more money than they could here and send home to support their kids. Now, with no tourists able to come in, there are no jobs available and their plan for steady income is no longer an option. These care packages are now more important than ever for many families who find themselves unexpectedly unemployed and a with brand new baby to raise and care for.